Virtually every nation around the world has engaged in some level of economic and societal lockdown in response to the new coronavirus.
But while that strategy may have helped save hospitals from being overrun, it may have set the stage for an entirely different sort of deadly pandemic, according to Fox News: hunger and starvation.
“Famines of biblical proportions”
The alarm was raised about a week ago, when the head of the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, addressed the U.N. Security Council during a virtual session with his dire vision of the near-term future in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his remarks to the Council, Beasley warned, “At the same time while dealing with a COVID-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic.” He later cautioned, “There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.”
Beasley noted that the worst impact would be on nations that were already struggling with armed conflicts, famines, and poverty, all of which would be greatly exacerbated by the ripple effects of economic shutdowns, lost jobs, lost revenues, broken supply chains, diminished foreign aid, and even scarcer resources than before.
With nearly 1 billion people already dealing with hunger, including about 130 million already on the “brink of starvation,” Beasley predicted those numbers would easily double by the end of 2020 — leaving nearly two billion people hungry and about 265 million about to starve to death.
He concluded that if preparatory action wasn’t taken quickly, “we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.”
Devastation in distressed nations
Seeming to confirm Beasley’s fears, Ian Bradbury, the CEO of a Canadian humanitarian organization known as 1st NAEF, told Fox of the impending humanitarian crisis: “We can confidently state that levels have risen. Quarantine regulations, shipping challenges, and overall supply chain issues are compounding and adding to previously existing starvation conditions.
“We can expect more global deaths due to secondary impacts of COVID-19 than the virus itself — the World Food Program currently estimates that 265 million will be on the brink of starvation by the end of the year,” he added.
Fox shared the accounts of several people struggling to survive in war-torn places like Afghanistan, Kurdistan, and Syria, as well as impoverished places like East Africa and Venezuela, indicating that areas such as those have very nearly reached a tragic breaking point due to the coronavirus shutdowns on top of the many pre-existing problems there.
Cure worse than the disease?
There have been warnings issued by many — including President Donald Trump — that the “cure” for the pandemic could potentially become worse than the virus itself, and that appears to be exactly what has transpired, at least in some parts of the world.
It is clearer now than ever before that mass economic lockdowns, including mandatory quarantines and forced business closures, can be more dangerous in the long run than the actual disease. How much longer can this go on?